The Miami Heat hosted the Toronto Raptors Monday night, and through an uneven effort that required a late defensive push, Miami prevailed 93-83.
The Indiana Pacers (52-23) lost to the San Antonio Spurs slightly earlier in the evening, meaning the Heat (51-22) claimed first place for the first time all season based on percentage points (.699 to .693).
LeBron James led the way with Dwyane Wade on the shelf and scored 21 of his 32 points in the first half. James also added eight assists and seven rebounds. Chris Bosh chipped in 18 points, but Chris Andersen was even better with two blocks, seven rebounds and 13 points. The Birdman did not miss a single shot.
Greivis Vasquez came off the bench and tried to save the day for Toronto with 17 points. DeMar DeRozan tallied 16 points and seven assists. Jonas Valanciunas racked up 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite shooting 50 percent from the field, it wasn't enough for the Raptors.
The Raptors opened a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but the Heat stormed back to claim a 54-51 advantage at halftime. Toronto hung around and cut the deficit to three points late in the fourth quarter, but the Heat were too much to handle.
The Chicago Bulls also beat the Boston Celtics, so Toronto falls into a tie with the Bulls on identical 42-32 records. The Raptors face a tough schedule ahead with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Miami has the luxury of hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.